Time of year
PookyCake wrote a review Mar 2020
Victoria, Canada10,848 contributions927 helpful votes
Ah, the BASTION! Listed as a Historic Place of Canada since 2004, the Bastion is an icon of Nanaimo. It’s unique octagonal structure, concomitant with its ideal location, call out to those who happen to spy it from land or sea. Indeed, that’s what happened to me. As I peered out the window from my room at the Coast Bastion Hotel (located on Bastion Street), I couldn’t help but be drawn to the Bastion as it beckoned to me from across the street. As such, I made the pilgrimage from Bastion Street to Front Street and found myself face to face with the BASTION. It’s somewhat humbling to be in front of such a structure – the oldest building in the city – knowing the important role it’s played in Nanaimo’s early economic development and history. For the history buff, though, it’s extremely satisfying. Originally built in 1853 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, the Bastion served a very practical purpose: It was designed to defend coal mining operations in Nanaimo. Thankfully, though, the structure never had to use its cannons and other artillery for that purpose. As such, the cannons were used as ceremonial pieces to welcome dignitaries and other people of high stature. How Canadian, eh? Nevertheless, as the last remaining wooden HBC-built bastion, this small three-storey building is thick and rife with history to be unpacked and unraveled by the curious mind. The write-ups, physical displays and staff inside the Bastion help to form a fuller picture of this unique building’s history. The first floor details and outlines what trade operations would’ve been like in the 1850s when the Bastion was first built. Here you can get a strong sense of what the economic climate was like at the time and how the HBC sought to modernize with its shift from the fur trade to coal mining. If you climb the steep stairs to the second floor (which very much reminded me of the windmills of Zaanse Schans), you are treated to a fabulous display of the Bastion’s various armaments. For those interested in military history, this floor is a proverbial treasure. Finally, the third floor of the Bastion provides valuable insights into how this historical structure was built and put together. Taken together, the Bastion is a wonderful history lesson on at least two fronts: 1) The ongoing evolution of the HBC and its impact on Canada’s development; and, 2) It functions as a symbol of Nanaimo’s early history. Given all of the above, it is hardly surprising that, along with functioning as a seasonal museum of sorts, the Bastion also operates as the city’s key tourist information centre. In this regard, the staff are incredibly helpful – pointing the way to other attractions that might appeal to lovers of history. If you are staying at the Coast Bastion, or any nearby accommodation for that matter, then the Bastion is a definite “must visit.” It’s historic, nice to look at, and a lovely trip back to the Victorian era.…
Date of experience: June 2019
Gerold H wrote a review Mar 2020
Nanaimo, Canada6 contributions
Incredible heritage here in Nanaimo. Managed by the Nanaimo Museum. The cannon beside the Bastion is fired during the summer months at noon. Bound to impress any youngsters.
Date of experience: August 2019
rssrob wrote a review Nov 2019
West Kelowna, Canada480 contributions80 helpful votes
Went there to show my wife. It used to be alone and a cool place to explore. Now it is smack dab up against another building and it was all boarded up
Date of experience: November 2019
Response from nanaimomuseum, Communications at The Bastion
Responded Nov 27, 2019
Hi RSSRob, Thanks for your review, we understand it can be disappointing when things aren't the way we remember them. The Bastion is partially covered with a netting for the winter to protect it. The City covers both the Bastion and the nearby cannons to protect them from the elements in the off season. As a heritage building, it is open to the public seasonally, but still available for tour booking and school programming year-round. I'm not positive when the building beside the Bastion was built, but I do know it's been there for at least the last 20 years that I've lived here. Definitely more buildings downtown now than when the Bastion was first moved to that spot though! Thankfully there is still plenty of room for some great pictures of the Bastion by itself in its little plaza. Check out the photo gallery here on Trip Advisor! If you'd like to take a tour inside over the winter season, please contact us here at the Nanaimo Museum and we'd be happy to arrange a booking. Hopefully you can bring your wife back again when we are open for the summer season so she can experience the "uncovered" version. Plus, the noon cannon firing is a pretty fun event!
James Gillis wrote a review Nov 2019
Best hotel stay in memory. Friendly, professional and welcoming. Definitely on my list for future stays.
Date of experience: November 2019
Response from nanaimomuseum, Communications Coordinator at The Bastion
Responded Nov 26, 2019
Hi Jamesgillis, I'm happy that you enjoyed your stay at the Coast Bastion Hotel! However, this is the listing for "The Bastion" - a seasonal historical building across the street from that hotel, managed by the Nanaimo Museum. We hope you will go ahead and review the Coast Bastion Hotel on their listing, I'm sure they would love to hear your positive feedback! And of course, come visit the historic Bastion if you are here next summer! Have a great day, Becka MacDonald
charlie macIntosh wrote a review Nov 2019
the bastion is a small historic building by the water. it's so old but it's not going to fall apart anytime soon. it's nice and open for the public to explore in.
Date of experience: September 2019